The age-old adage of “money can’t buy happiness” has been debated and argued over for decades.
Now, a new study has proven that money can make you happy, but only if you use it to measure success, not happiness. (Ironic, isn’t it?)
The study looks at two dimensions of materialism: the success-materialism and the happiness-materialism.
Success-materialism is where wealth and material possession is a sign of success in life.
Happiness-materialism is where wealth and material possession is a sign of happiness in life.
The results shows that success-materialism is the only one that contributes to increased life satisfaction, whereas happiness-materialism brings around dissatisfaction.
The distinction between success-materialism and happiness-materialism was made in a survey as part of the study.
Success-materialism was judged by questions like:
1. I admire people who own expensive homes, cars, and clothes.
2. I believe that the things I own say a lot about how well I am doing in life.
3. I like to own things that impress people.
4. I believe that some of the most important achievements in life include acquiring material possessions.
5. I do not place much emphasis on the amount of material objects people own as a sign of success.
Happiness-materialism was judged by questions like:
1. I believe that my life would be better if I owned certain things I do not have.
2. I believe that I would be happier if I could afford to buy more things.
3. It sometimes bothers me quite a bit that I cannot afford to buy all the things I would like.
4. I have all the things I really need to enjoy life.
5. I would be happier if I owned nicer things.
The study concludes that success-materialism boosts economic motivation and future satisfaction as it tends to raise the standards of living.
The success-materialism mindset brings happiness as material goods are a reminder of achievement and accomplishment.
In contrast, happiness-materialism involves dissatisfaction with current standard of living and detracts from other life satisfactions such as family and social happiness.
The happiness-materialism mindset instead focuses on what is lacking materially and in constant comparison with others.
Basically, make money to live a better life, not to buy your way to happiness.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.